Despite what you may think, carpets can be made of several different types of fibres. Which one is better, and what are the differences that distinguish one from the other? Is the pile of the fibre important?
To begin, we can divide the fibres into two major categories: natural and synthetic. There are three types of synthetic fibre: polypropylene (also known as olefin), polyester and nylon. As for natural fibres, wool is the most common. Did you know that more than 99% of carpets on the market are made of synthetic fibres?
Polypropylene is the most resistant fibre when it comes to colour. Despite prolonged exposure to light, sunlight or cleaning products, the colour will never fade, due to its pigmentation process. This type of process ensures that the colour is an integral part of the fibre. Polypropylene’s weakness is that its fibres are less resistant to wear when compared to other synthetic fibres. It is often chosen for its resistance to fading and is ideal for bedrooms or basements, i.e., low-traffic areas.
Carpets made of nylon are often more expensive that those made from other types of fibres. Nylon is flexible can be used to create many styles. It is resilient, resistant to wear, retains its shape well, hides dirt well and has a certain level of stain resistance. Due to the fibre’s strength, nylon carpets are an excellent choice for high-traffic areas.
Polyester fibre is the ultimate choice when looking for stain resistance and softness. It is also ideal for those with a limited budget, because it represents good value for money. For the longest wear, it is better to choose a long polyester fibre with a medium to high density. This will ensure long term durability and it will maintain its appearance.
Wool carpets are the most common carpets made of natural fibres. That said, natural fibres are more expensive than synthetic ones. People often choose wool carpets for their chic appearance. Wool fibres are also thicker than synthetic fibres. There are of course other types of natural fibres such as sisal, jute, bamboo, coir or banana. However, they are difficult to find on the market, tend to be very expensive and are difficult to maintain.
The structure, or pile, of the fibre influences the style and texture the carpet will have. So you have to consider its pile in order to find a carpet that will meet your needs.
This type contains smooth, soft rich fibres which make for an elegant looking carpet. They are often characterized by their uniformity due to their flat surface and fibre density. Area rugs are often made with plush-type pile.
Loop pile carpets are characterised by the fibre that is continuously woven into a reinforcing material which results in a very durable carpet. These carpets are often an excellent choice for low traffic levels where comfort comes first.
Berber pile carpets are in fact a loop pile carpet, but with a larger loop than a standard loop pile carpet. It is often used for its more design and aesthetic appearance. Just like loop pile carpets, it is perfect for low traffic areas.
Just as its name indicates, this type of carpet has a twisted pile. The more the carpet fibre is twisted, the most durable it becomes, like when you make a braid. The tighter you make it, the stronger it will be. This type of carpet can be installed in any room in the house.